DNA Magazine - - CONTENTS -

How life changed when he stopped try­ing to be some­one else and al­lowed the real Lau­rence to thrive.

DNA: You’re in great shape and have put a lot of work into your body, but you were bul­lied as a kid and that played a part in mak­ing you the man you are to­day, right?

Lau­rence Hines: A very big part. In a pos­i­tive way, it keeps me hum­ble. I never look down on oth­ers be­cause I know what it’s like to feel looked down upon and made to feel as if you don’t fit in.

There must have been neg­a­tive con­se­quences, too, though?

Yes. On the neg­a­tive side, it made me very self­con­scious about my body, but I now deal with that in a healthy way.

How old were you when the bul­ly­ing hap­pened? It started when I was about 6 or 7 due to my weight; I was a chubby kiddo. Then, when I reached my teens, I lost the weight and the bul­ly­ing went from be­ing about my weight to be­ing about my sex­u­al­ity. Were there me­dia im­ages of young men that had an in­flu­ence on your body im­age?

Yes, very much so. When I was a kid, out­side of Den­zel Washington and Tyson Beck­ford, you didn’t see a lot of black, Latin or Asian sex sym­bols or teen idols be­ing played up by the me­dia. When I opened up mag­a­zines or heard my girls talk­ing at school it was about guys who had that boy-band look or the Cal­i­for­nia surfer look; very blond and lean like Jesse McCart­ney and Zac Efron, which I was not. Also at this time, the gay com­mu­nity glo­ri­fied this look – the twink look.

Slim and boy­ish.


And how did you look at the time?

Nat­u­rally I was mus­cu­lar and ath­letic.

Did you ever starve your­self to try and achieve a slim­mer look?

Yes, I did. It got to be pretty bad. I won’t go into de­tail of what I did be­cause I don’t want read­ers with eat­ing dis­or­ders to read this and fol­low what I did. When I was strug­gling with my eat­ing disorder I would read about peo­ple who suf­fered with eat­ing dis­or­ders and get more ideas from what they did to achieve thin­ness. So, for that rea­son, I will not go into de­tail.

Did you think that by chang­ing your body shape you’d be more ac­cepted and there­fore less bul­lied?

Oh yeah, I thought I would be more de­sir­able and ac­cepted. Sadly, I couldn’t see the beauty of hav­ing a nat­u­rally ath­letic build – which I had – be­cause I was so brain­washed by the me­dia.

Do you think gay men are more vul­ner­a­ble to body im­age crises than straight men?

Hmm… no. I think gay men are just a bit more vo­cal about it. I work out with plenty of straight guys and, be­lieve me, they have their in­se­cu­ri­ties when it come to their bod­ies or want­ing to look a

Learn to truly love who you are. There is only one you in this world and that is your per­sonal power.

cer­tain way, but they are not as vo­cal about it as some gay men are.

When did you change your mind and think that your nat­u­ral body shape was ac­cept­able?

When I was about 18 or 19 I was read­ing a ton of Euro­pean men’s fash­ion mag­a­zines, and even the mag­a­zines here in Amer­ica, and they would fea­ture very thin male mod­els. That’s what I wanted to look like. Well, one day, I was brows­ing the mag­a­zine stand and it was, ac­tu­ally, the cover of DNA that caught my eye – not be­cause of the ob­vi­ous but be­cause the cover model looked like a Greek god! The im­age was very mas­cu­line and strong. The model wasn’t fam­ished or draped in high fash­ion. I saw the beauty in this cover, and his body type was closer to mine, and it made me re­alise that I didn’t have to be some­thing I am not to be­come a model. I could be strong and healthy and that, in it­self, is sexy.

We’re pleased to hear that be­cause one of our aims with the men we choose for the cover is that they look happy and healthy. On the flip side, though, do you think mag­a­zines like DNA can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on peo­ple’s body im­age? I’m sure it’s pos­si­ble, it’s just that the su­per-thin mod­els in other mag­a­zines had a neg­a­tive ef­fect on me. There are some guys who see these cov­ers and do un­healthy things to try and achieve the look. As a per­sonal trainer, I’ll be very hon­est with these guys… yes, a lot of hard work and a healthy diet play a role into look­ing like a cover model but there is a lit­tle photo re­touch­ing here and there. No one is perfect, and we should all strive to find beauty and love with the body we are blessed with and work with what we have.

Was your body im­age awak­en­ing re­lated to your adult sex­u­al­ity awak­en­ing? Or did you know you were gay much ear­lier?

I knew I was gay from child­hood. I didn’t have sex­ual feel­ings as child but I knew I didn’t like girls in that way. As I grew into my teens I never tried to hide the fact that I was gay by dat­ing girls and I am so thank­ful I never went through a time of con­fu­sion. I see so many men strug­gle with their sex­u­al­ity, try­ing to escape from it through drugs and al­co­hol, hat­ing them­selves for be­ing gay or bi. So­ci­ety has not al­ways been fair to the LGBT com­mu­nity, and be­ing gay can be rough. I don’t think peo­ple re­alise how strong we have to be to with­stand all that’s thrown our way. Things are get­ting bet­ter but there’s still a way to go.

What ad­vice would you pass on to kids, and young gay men, about body im­age and self­es­teem, from your own ex­pe­ri­ence?

Learn to truly love who you are! There is only one you in this world, no other in­di­vid­ual looks, talks, thinks or acts ex­actly like you and that is your per­sonal power. You are the fu­ture; con­tinue to stand up for what’s right. You all make me so proud.

What ad­vice would you give about get­ting into shape and fit­ness?

Keep it healthy, with a healthy diet and work­out rou­tine. Try to par­take in some kind of gym rou­tine 4 to 5 times a week and keep it nat­u­ral be­cause you don’t know how long you’re go­ing to live and you don’t want to screw up your body with diet pills or steroids. I don’t know about you, but I want to stay healthy for as long as I can. I plan to still be lift­ing in my sev­en­ties and eight­ies. If you take care of your body it will take care of you. Age just be­comes a num­ber. Per­son­ally, I don’t be­lieve in that num­ber.

You’ve done a lot of mod­el­ling – how does it feel know­ing that now your body is ad­mired across so­cial me­dia and in mag­a­zines?

I am so thank­ful for my friends and fol­low­ers; they are like fam­ily to me. I keep in con­tact with many of them. I hope I can be an ex­am­ple for those who strug­gle with eat­ing dis­or­ders or body im­age is­sues. Once you learn to ac­cept and em­brace who you truly are there will be no stop­ping you in life. Do you ever bump into those school bul­lies?

Yes, I have run into a few. One even asked for my num­ber! I guess he wasn’t so straight af­ter all. The oth­ers I have run into treat me with re­spect and the re­spect is re­turned. We are all adults now and I have for­given them. You must al­ways keep mov­ing for­ward.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.